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“Those In Need” by Melissa Mitchell, Children’s Ministry Director

Lavish decorations, decadent desserts, mounds of presents, and a bulging social calendar are just some ways many of us celebrate the most exciting time of the year – the whirlwind of Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.  I have to admit – I do love it!  I actually like wrapping gifts and writing Christmas cards.  Decorating my home and making cookies is so much fun!

However, I’m also aware that for many the scene is painted much differently during this time of year.  The poor, the needy, the underserved, the under resourced…  Whether it be people in our own church, or those across the ocean, there are many that God has called us to serve.

Proverbs 22:9

“A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.”

Isaiah 58:10

“And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.”

This past weekend at CCF we filled 40 Thanksgiving baskets full of food and packed over 70 boxes to send to Operation Christmas Child.  Still to come will be opportunities to give through Angel Tree and donating gifts to the Providence Rescue Mission’s toy drive, which our church typically does.

Why do we give?  We know that God wants us to give, Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

But I’m also hoping we give not just out of duty but also out of love.  Our love for God overflowing to others, and for all people in general.  During the holiday season when so many of us have so much, isn’t it a bit painful to think of others going without?  A child who receives only one or two gifts, or maybe none at all?  No Christmas tree, no special foods?  Or the all too common plight of children in many of our urban areas going without gloves, hats, and warm coats on their long walk to school and home.

These thoughts disturb me, bother me.  My family doesn’t have a lot compared to most United States middle class standards, but compared to how most of the world lives, I am rich indeed.

Some people can be reluctant to give, for a variety of reasons.  I recall being on a summer-long mission trip to New York City when my husband and I served with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru).  Our focus was on doing a variety of inner city ministry.  Our team was having a discussion about ways to help the homeless and one of my teammates said that recently she had been reminded that God hadn’t told us to ask why someone was poor, but that we were to help the poor.

I’m not saying the “why” question should never be considered or asked, as a society we need to get to the root causes of poverty and figure out how to get people to a better place. What I am saying, is that I would like my first impulse to be wanting to give, to help, to serve and not wonder if they “deserve” my efforts.  If I give out of the right reasons, I figure I can leave it up to God to honor that to figure out the rest.